1933 Palestine riots

The 1933 Palestine riots (Hebrew: מאורעות תרצ"ד) (commonly known as Me'oraot Tartsad) were a series of violent riots in Mandatory Palestine, as part of the Sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine. The riots erupted on 28 October 1933, initiated by the Arab Executive Committee.[1] The cause for the riots was stated by Arabs as beginning of the Fifth Aliyah (migration of Jews to Mandatory Palestine) as a result of the rise of Nazi Germany. According to The Sunday Times Perth, the 28 October riots concluded with 20 killed.[1]


The sectarian violence in Mandatory Palestine between Jewish and Arab communities began with the 1920 Syrian crisis and consequent defeat of the Arab Syrian nationalists in the Franco-Syrian war. Serious disturbances erupted in British controlled territory as a fallout of the Franco-Syrian war, but return of hard line Palestinian Arab nationalists to Jerusalem from Damascus, led by Amin al-Husayni, essentially shifted the conflict to local intra-communal topic. Serious eruptions of violence followed in 1921 and 1929, mostly emphasizing to target the issue of Jewish immigration.

After several years in which the Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine included several thousand Jewish immigrants per year, in 1933, following the rise in racial persecution in Nazi Germany, 37,000 Jewish immigrants fled to Mandatory Palestine and joined the 190,000 Jewish residents living there at the time. The immigration of the German Jews to the region affected the Yishuv not only in terms of the number of immigrants, but also their contribution to the cultural and economic power of the newly arrived educated immigrants (some of whom were wealthy people), whom helped develop of the Jewish settlements in the fields of agriculture, industry, medicine, science and education. The Arab population in Palestine strongly opposed the increase of the Jewish population and perceived this influx of Jewish immigrants as a real threat.

The events

On 5 October 1933 the Arab Executive Committee called for a general strike "to show the anger of the Arab people in the region of Palestine" and announced that on 13 October 1933 a protest would be gathered at the mosques on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The police of the British Mandate banned the demonstration. On the day in which the demonstration was going to be held British police officers were stationed at the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. The demonstration began at noon and was led by members of the Arab Executive Committee. A British police officer, backed by a large police force, called them to disperse but they did not acceded to his request, and as a result the police began dispersing the demonstration through the use of clubs.

On 29 October 1933 demonstrations were held in Jaffa, in Haifa and in Nablus. Although the Arab demonstrators promised that the demonstrations would be carried out peacefully, they soon became violent riots and Roy Spicer, who was the police chief of the British Mandate, suppressed them firmly by sending British police officers on horses. The officers used clubs as well as guns during their confrontation with the rioters. During these riots, which later became known as the "1933 Palestine riots" and "Me'oraot Tartsad", 26 Arab protesters were killed and about 180 were wounded until the riots were eventually completely subdued by the British police forces.

The protests were directed primarily against the British Mandate, although on 28 October 1933, the Arab rioters attempted to break into the Jewish area of Jerusalem, but were successfully dispersed by the British police forces.


The 1933 Palestine riots were a prelude to the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, during which the Arab community of Mandatory Palestine, supported by foreign Arab volunteers, held a mass revolt against the British authorities, also targeting the Palestinian Jewish community. The 1936 revolt largely collapsed within a year, with Palestinian Arab leadership defeated and ousted by the British, however small-scale events continued for about two years more, until they declined in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II.

See also


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